PEEBLES has made history as the first town in the UK to sponsor the RNIB's Talking Books initiative as a community.

Residents were also been thanked for their continued support after donations hit a new milestone at an Afternoon Tea event at the Tontine Hotel on Sunday, January 29.

Over £5,000 has been raised for the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) to produce two new titles for its free library service, which provides one million audiobooks a year to people who have difficulty reading standard print.

Several local businesses including; Forsyth's, Harrison's, Peebles Life, Rogerson's, and Higgins Opticians were all involved in the initiative, along with groups such as School's Out, Peebles and District Round Table, Peebles Rotary, and the Circle of Friends.

Angela Preston, RNIB's Community Fundraising Manager for East Scotland, told the Peeblesshire News: "The Peebles community has been absolutely fantastic. From day one they embraced the challenge. Local businesses have been very happy to support us, while the children at School's Out took part in a variety of challenges to raise funds, including a blindfold obstacle course. 

"The Rotary Club and Round Table were also totally on board making very generous donations. One lady donated because of the difference RNIB Talking Books has made to her life."

The fundraising milestone also promoted a motion in Scottish Parliament at Hollyrood by MSP Christine Grahame to commend the residents of Peebles as the first town in the UK to sponsor Talking Books as a community.

Optometrist Linda Quinn also took part in a sponsored challenge wearing glasses that simulate sight loss while navigating her way around town. She is now also encouraging the community to fundraise for a new children's Talking Book.

The two new Talking Books for adults to be recorded will be 'Dreamstreets: A Journey Through Britain's Village Utopia' by Jaqueline Yallop and 'The Unseeing' by Anna Mazola.

Those who donated were invited to record a dedication on behalf of the Peebles community which will be played at the start of the audiobooks each time they are downloaded.

Angela added: "For over 80 years, RNIB’s Talking Books service has created a lifeline to the outside world. Thanks to the support of the Peebles community we can keep expanding our library, making sure people with sight loss don’t miss out on the joy of a good book."

For more details, email: or call: 0131 6523169.